When the offer of sex is made in the workplace in exchange for certain benefits, this is called sexual bribery. Sexual bribery is a version of quid pro quo sexual harassment that can lead to an employee feeling cheap and used. The exchange of sexual favors for any type of workplace benefit is illegal, no matter who made the first suggestion.
In many instances, the exchange is suggested subtly with an off-handed comment or a seemingly light-hearted statement in an email. Eventually, a person’s real intentions are known, and there may be an explicit offer that sexual favors will be provided in exchange for certain work benefits, such as a raise or a promotion.
Employees should be rewarded for the work that they perform or their tenure at a company, not because they perform certain acts for a person of authority in the organization. Doing so cheapens them as a human being and as a worker, and can wreak havoc on their dignity and mental state. Moreover, sexual bribery can cause a rift between the employee and the rest of their colleagues.
Those who have been victimized by sexual bribery do not have to tolerate that behavior. They should get in touch with a sexual harassment lawyer who can help them fight back against their harasser and ensure that the person never does it again.
What is Sexual Bribery?
Sexual bribery is the solicitation of sex, any sexual activity, or another sex-linked behavior for the promise of elevation in work status or pay. It is generally defined as a type of quid pro quo harassment, wherein a sexual relationship with an employer or superior is made an explicit or implied condition of obtaining or retaining employment or benefits.
Another form of sexual bribery, although a lesser version, is when sex is used as a replacement for money to persuade a person in power to conform to the other person’s plans or agenda.
What are Examples of Sexual Bribery?
There are a variety of work benefits that a person may offer in exchange for sexual favors. Among the more common benefits offered include:
- Positive performance review
- Good recommendation
- Special treatment in the workplace
Bribery does not have to be between a superior and an underling. It can be between two coworkers in exchange for a work perk or another benefit. For example, a coworker might wish to get out of an undesirable shift or a certain work chore that they do not want. Sexual bribery is also not limited to employees of different genders. If a person of the same gender is approaching a coworker or employee and asking for sexual favors, it is still unacceptable behavior in the workplace.
Notification of the suggestion of initiating a sexual bribery relationship can come from anywhere. It is not limited to verbal communication. There have been other ways these types of requests have been communicated including through subtle, less over comments and messages over email, via phone calls, over text messages, through notes, or other forms of communication.
Is Sexual Bribery Illegal?
Given that sexual bribery is a form of sexual harassment, it is illegal under various federal and state laws. Specifically, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits the mistreatment of coworkers in the workplace due to their sex. At the state level, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prohibits sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
Those who are victims of sexual bribery at work should report any incident to their supervisor, unless that is the person that is perpetuating the problem. If a supervisor is not a viable option, a person should go to their Human Resources (HR) department to report the problem.
There are options outside the office where a victim can go if they are dissatisfied with the response from their company’s HR department. They can file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). However, there are state options as well, with either the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) or the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights within the Office of the Attorney General.
What will a Lawsuit Accomplish in a Sexual Bribery Case?
Filing a lawsuit against a company that has demonstrated a lack of concern over an instance of sexual bribery can lead to adequate compensation for the trauma that a victim just experienced along with the potential for enacting change at a company. Among the relief a victim can ask for includes:
- Lost Wages: An employee may have been fired for failing to comply, meaning they lost out on wages they would have otherwise earned.
- Medical Expenses: The anxiety and stress associated with what is going on at work could cause physical and mental ailments that might require medical attention. A lawsuit can seek reimbursement for those expenses as long as the person can prove that they were caused by the incidents at work.
- Emotional Distress: The trauma of dealing with a person and pushing them to perform services they are not comfortable with can lead to emotional problems that require treatment.
- Pain and Suffering: That mental trauma can lead to physical ailments, for which the victim is entitled to be compensated.
- Reinstatement: If a person was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for not agreeing to go along with the harasser’s demands or a promotion was blocked, the employee can seek to have those advancements reinstated.
- Non-Monetary Requests: A person can request that changes be made at the company to prevent future situations from arising. They can request that the company adopt a policy to address quid pro quo harassment in the future or other changes that will protect workers going forward.
Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Defend the Rights of Those Victimized by Sexual Bribery
No one should have to feel as if they need to give up their body in order to get ahead at work. No one has a right to ask that of you. The Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. will help you if you have been forced or are being pressured into this type of arrangement. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Our offices are located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout South Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County, as well as in New York.